Van Nuys sting operation

CslbstingmontageIt was kind of like NBC’s "To Catch a Predator" this week in Van Nuys.

But instead of suspected pedophiles showing up to meet underage victims, there were alleged unlicensed contractors showing up to bid on remodeling work.

And instead of being tackled by cops in front of TV cameras, they were cited on misdemeanor charges and told that they would be mailed notices to appear in court and could face possible penalties, including jail and a $500 fine.

The undercover operation, according to an article in the L.A. Times, involved an investigator with the Contractors State License Board posing as a homeowner.

The same scenario was repeated in seven cities throughout the state, and by the time the day was over, some 79 allegedly unlicensed contractors had been cited. Last year, more than 700 unlicensed contractors were targeted by the state board in statewide undercover operations, the article said.

One worker was also cited for trying to get $2,400 upfront for a $4,800 job. Under state law, contractors can generally ask only for a deposit of 10% of the project or $1,000, whichever is less.

Here’s what I’m wondering: What about the other jobs the contractors are working on? Will those jobs get shut down? Or does the person just pocket the citation and continue on?

I guess the real question is: If you hire an unlicensed contractor, and he gets caught in a CSLB sting, does your job come to a screeching halt?

Correction: An earlier version of this blog had the headline "Unlicensed contractors busted in Van Nuys sting" and within the text referred to unlicensed contractors. The workers targeted in the Van Nuys sting were suspected of being unlicensed but had not been convicted.

Read the whole article
Check on a contractor’s license

(Photos: AL SEIB / Los Angeles Times)

2 Comments on Van Nuys sting operation

  1. Elizabeth

    Please support the legislation authored by Mike Eng.
    It’s Assembly bill 2412 Consumer Protection Bill That Targets Unlicensed Contractors
    My life is falling apart because of an unlicensed contractor.
    I noticed that this bill is marked as “non-emergency.” It”s an emergency to me. My whole life is falling apart because of an unlicensed contractor. I bought my first place (a condo) in August, 2006. My Assistant Principal(at the school where I worked for the last 3 years)referred me to her husband. She had talked about his work frequently and called it “high-end.” She also talked about his employees by name and mentioned exclusive locations where she said he worked. I had planned to have paint done, the ceilings scraped and the floors polished (they were bare concrete). This man emailed photos of work that he claims as his own. I felt so fortunate that he suddenly became available. I ended up agreeing to loads of work. In the end, he collected over $55,000.00: $35,000 in checks and $20,000 on my AmEx. He ran the AmEx charges through his son”s mechant account in San Francisco. He finished not even the smallest project and left me without a bathroom and kitchen. He went to San Francisco to help his son build his dream house. When I disputed the charges on my AmEx, the man’s son created a fake invoice and wrote false statements and submitted them to AmEx. I disputed the charges perhaps 6 times and each time, this man’s son added to the misleading information and submitted the documents again. I found out that this man is unlicensed when, one day at school, my Assistant Principal blurted out, “He”s supposed to be studying for his license so he can help his son build he house.” When I went to her for help, she replied, “I”m not involved. Do what you need to do.” I couldn”t believe it. I”ve had to live here in this mess because I don”t have family or anyone else to stay with in the Los Angeles area. This has hit my finances hard and, after American Express dumped the $20,000 back on me for the final time, my card was $20,000 over the limit and with all the extra expenses I”ve had, I couldn”t keep up the payments. I”ve never had credit problems before. Now American Express might sue me! I had called them and set up the dispute and they gave me inadequate advice and now I might have to pay for a lawsuit with them in addition to the lawsuit against this man and his son. This has become a disaster. We need this bill and I need someone to stand up for me. I filed with the Contractor’s Board because they also deal with unlicensed contractors. I’ve put in a bathroom but still don’t have kitchen and I’m still living in a mess. My life is falling apart. This is a disaster.

  2. Jack D. Johnson

    Now those perverted predators are trying to molest the toilet bowl and kitchen sink. What will they do next?